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Having isolation and solitude thrust upon our entire human community, by the occasion of a Pandemic, adds a tough layer to all our coping skills. Grandma and grandpa might have some good ideas! Photo by form PxHere - Creative Commons CC0
Having isolation and solitude thrust upon our entire human community, by the occasion of a Pandemic, adds a tough layer to all our coping skills. Grandma and grandpa might have some good ideas! Photo by form PxHere - Creative Commons CC0

Vacationing At Home – By Default!

May 25, 2020
by Zoë Tummillo, Communications Concepts

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When we used to talk about vacationing at home, we usually meant around our home region!  You know – the local beach or the attractions of the nearest big city.  Well, not necessarily this time around, pal.    It’s a whole different challenge, an unwanted set of circumstances and a time for very creative thinking. 

While opening up has not necessarily proved as safe or as easy as we wanted or hoped, we do have the opportunity to use better judgment than we might usually apply to systemic impatience! Carelessly handled, it can mean reversal to those serious isolation disciplines. 

As our traditional vacation season approaches, it is unfortunately roaring at us with an invisible enemy in tow.  Turning this odd social environment into vacation fun is going to drive us to innovations — or drive us crazy.  Figuring out how to capture the spirit of vacation and holiday, while also being smart about the pandemic, presents some frustrations to say the least.  In some ways, it’s harder on the kids because we have spoiled them rotten.  With our contemporary ways, we gave them too many answers and in many ways did too much and expected too little!  Do they even know how to create play?

Indulge me a comment or two about the “good old days!”  Some of you must remember when Mom would get you into your “play clothes,” open the kitchen door, gently but firmly shove you outside and say “go play?”

I do! As the kids, we were largely responsible for what that meant!  That kind of play was not a range of pre-programmed stuff handed to us on a silver platter; it was not a carefully orchestrated block of time complete with all the gimmicks and elements that seem to be critically essential for “play,” for many of today’s children — and their parents.  

Back then, thankfully (thankfully!) all the answers were not provided for us; our world of play was much broader than a tiny electronic screen (or a big one...).   We were expected to think our way to fun, games, mischief — and process.  (OMG!)   We made up games, used the natural stuff around us — you know, dirt, rocks, hills, mud puddles, sticks, each other...  We daydreamed as we rode around on trikes and bikes; we grappled with boredom (whining and pleading) and also got into trouble.  But we learned valuable lessons about self-sufficiency!

So what place do squishy memories like those have in light of today’s situations?  I see corollaries; and I see a lot of frustration as families are faced exclusively with each other – day in, day out.   Some parents accustomed to dashing their kids to day care facilities, on their way to work, are confronted with 24/7 confinements!  Home schooling?  Physical fitness, boredom and impatience, the list goes on — for some, with stunning unfamiliarity.

I heard statistics that domestic abuse has escalated alarmingly – with shelter-at-home meant to be protection.   So, let me get this straight in my old brain: for many, protection from CORVID-19 = endangerment at home.  How’s that for irony. Vacation at home must not become a double jeopardy, a prison in disguise, a travesty of judgment or a wasted opportunity. 

Many seniors know a little (some, a lot -) about being confined alone.  Whether it is the simple reality of an empty nest, widowhood, disability, death or economics, it would be a stretch to imagine being in one’s 80’s without having arrived at one or more of those thresholds.   

Having isolation and solitude thrust upon our entire human community, by the occasion of a Pandemic, adds a tough layer to all our coping skills.  Grandma and grandpa might have some good ideas!  You’re stuck there together anyway — why not take a creative group-look at something new for vacation at home! 

Zoe Tummillo

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